Mock impoliteness, jocular mockery and jocular abuse in Australian and British English
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MockimpolitenessinEnglish has generally been approached in the context of theorising politeness or impoliteness. In this paper we undertake a cross-cultural, intra-English language sociopragmatic exploration of the way in which behaviour such as 'banter' is manifested, co-constructed and manipulated for social bonding purposes in both AustralianandBritish varieties of English. The analysis focuses on explicating two particular interactional practices of banter, jocularmockeryandjocularabuse, in male-only interpersonal interactions in (North West) Britain and Australia, and comparing the topics of such mockeryandabuse. It is argued that jocularmockeryandjocularabuse very often occasion evaluations of mockimpoliteness, that is evaluations of potentially impolite behaviour as non-impolite, rather than politeness or impoliteness per se, and that these evaluations arise from a shared ethos that places value on "not taking yourself too seriously". It is also suggested such evaluations are cumulative and differentially distributed in multi-party interactions. For these reasons we suggest the mockimpoliteness constitutes an social evaluation in its right rather than constituting subsidiary form of either politeness or impoliteness.
Journal of Pragmatics
Copyright 2012 Elsevier B.V.. This is the author-manuscript version of this paper. Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. Please refer to the journal's website for access to the definitive, published version.
Discourse and Pragmatics